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Measuring the returns to networking and the accumulation of social capital: any evidence of bonding, bridging or linking?

Urwin, Peter, Di Pietro, Giorgio, Sturgis, Patrick and Jack, Gregor (2008) Measuring the returns to networking and the accumulation of social capital: any evidence of bonding, bridging or linking? American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 67, (5), pp. 941-968. (doi:10.1111/j.1536-7150.2008.00603.x).

Record type: Article


This article presents analyses of individual investment in social capital using both the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and the UK Time Use Survey (2000) (UKTUS). We suggest a general theoretical framework that could possibly explain individual investment in various forms of social networking. Measures of social capital are then constructed in an attempt to capture the extent of individual investment in bonding, bridging, and linking networks. These measures, together with other socioeconomic indicators, are used as explanatory factors in wage equations, estimated using ordered probit, OLS, and instrumental variable approaches. We are unable to identify any consistent returns from investment in bonding and bridging networks. In contrast, the evidence suggests that any returns to investment in the development of linking social capital simply derive from the positive signals that group membership may transmit to potential employers. Our results underline the contrast between studies that consider social capital as an attribute of communities, as opposed to individuals, in that we find a negative return to social activity at the level of the individual.

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Published date: 5 December 2008


Local EPrints ID: 80178
ISSN: 0002-9246
PURE UUID: 86165e7d-ba44-448a-80c6-997a781ef8f4

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Date deposited: 24 Mar 2010
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:14

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Author: Peter Urwin
Author: Giorgio Di Pietro
Author: Patrick Sturgis
Author: Gregor Jack

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